York routs Hinsdale South
York senior Patrick Kastner managed to turn an upside-down sports season into a positive.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back improved his conditioning and speed by playing basketball. In a normal sports calendar season, basketball follows football, but in the condensed coronavirus pandemic season, the two sports flip-flopped.
Kastner said basketball helped him prepare for football, as he opened the football season in optimum conditioning.
And it definitely showed on Friday night.
Kastner carried the ball 22 times for 114 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead York to a 49-17 rout over Hinsdale South in Darien.
The Dukes (1-0) scored 21 points in the third quarter to run away with the road victory. Kastner scored on TD runs of 1, 3 and 15 yards. His final touchdown came late in the third quarter -- on the third straight carry of a no-huddle sequence which provided a direct example of his improved conditioning.
"Basketball was a great conditioning thing for me," Kastner said. "I was able to also learn how to wear the mask and play. I feel like that helped me, on and off the field. I felt I was a step ahead with my conditioning. The offensive line did a great job making their blocks for me."
Kastner, a Michigan Tech football recruit, said he was 5-9, 180 pounds last season, but he managed to add quality weight and increase his speed. He pounded Hinsdale South with several short runs, but added runs of 14 and 15 yards late in the game until being pulled for the reserves.
"I worked on my speed since last year," Kastner said. "Speed was the main thing I was lacking last year. I had a lot of power, and managed to get stronger, but I increased my speed a lot and able to make more cuts and break away in the open field."
After starting both ways last season and splitting the carries, Kastner established himself as York's feature back early in the offseason.
"Patrick is a workhorse," Dukes coach Mike Fitzgerald said. "He's very unselfish and is put together and a house coming through the line."
York senior wide receiver Luke Malaga had six catches for 77 yards to give the Dukes' a well-diversified attack.
The Dukes' defense did a solid job containing Hinsdale South's running game, holding the Hornets (0-1) scoreless in the second half until a late fourth quarter touchdown.
York senior linebacker/tight end Frederick Levins said the defense was aggressive and did a great job gang-tackling.
"We were flying around and everybody on defense was working hard," Levins said. "We all gave it all we could on the field. Everybody played great."
Hinsdale South fell behind 21-0 before scoring 10 unanswered points in the second quarter. The Hornets were led by Jalen Smith, who caught a 7-yard touchdown and intercepted a pass.
"We tried to prepare the best we could, but we didn't get the outcome we wanted," Smith said. "We have to keep moving forward and get better. I think this will motivate us to work harder in practice."